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Legal remedies for girls' under‐representation in nontraditional career and technical education

Ellen Eardley (Woodley & McGillivary, Washington, DC, USA)
Jessica Manvell (University of California, San Francisco, California, USA)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 1 June 2006




The purpose of this article is to document the extent of girls' under‐representation in nontraditional high school career and technical education courses, examine the role of sex discrimination in these disparities, and identify legal remedies for addressing the problem.


This article uses high school CTE enrollment data from 12 states to document female students' under‐representation in nontraditional courses and uses wage data to show the negative implications for girls' future earnings. Drawing on the experiences of female students, this study explains how sex discrimination contributes to their low rates of participation in nontraditional training. The study then discusses how laws and regulations at the federal and state levels may provide means to address such discrimination.


Finds high levels of sex segregation in CTE course enrollment, with female students making up on average 15 percent of students in nontraditional courses and 87 percent in traditionally female fields. Substantial evidence of sex discrimination in CTE makes a strong case for its role in contributing to girls' low enrollment in nontraditional courses. Varied state laws can be utilized to address this underlying cause.


While much research has looked at girls in math and science, less attention has been paid to their participation in nontraditional CTE. This paper offers quantitative evidence of girls' under‐representation in such courses and qualitative evidence of the role sex discrimination plays. Offers a unique solution by showing how state laws can be used to address such discrimination and increase girls' participation in nontraditional training.



Eardley, E. and Manvell, J. (2006), "Legal remedies for girls' under‐representation in nontraditional career and technical education", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 396-416.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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